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Men exploring the Roman Catholic priesthood have to show they have the character the Church seeks, a church leader with the Diocese of Toledo said.
The diocese has 28 men preparing for the priesthood. Five will be ordained at Rosary Cathedral on June 22.
Msgr. Charles Singler is director of vocations for the diocese and also leads the office of divine worship. He is the one who sees the seminarians through this period of discernment in becoming priests, and said it is not just about agreement with issues that are important to the church, such as being heterosexual, for example, and showing that they already lead a celibate life. They also see medical doctors and get psychological assessments.
The applicant must be “transparent with his life and tell us where he’s been and what he’s done,” Monsignor Singler said.
Monsignor Singler says that he has never had a woman inquire about pursuing the priesthood. This afternoon, Deacon Beverly Bingle, a Roman Catholic woman, will be ordained a Roman Catholic priest at First Unitarian Church of Toledo. Her ordination will not be recognized by the Toledo diocese.
“I suspect that with the news reports as they are, and certainly the church’s teaching as it is, I think that people basically understand that [a males-only priesthood] is the discipline of the church.”
What about the movement to ordain women as priests? “I think it’s confusing to Catholics. It does not reflect, certainly, the official Church, the Church’s teaching and practice. It’s kind of like it’s emerged [as] its own Catholic church, and yet it doesn’t appear to be Catholic. They’re not in union with Rome, they’re not in union with the Pope, so I find it counterproductive. It’s not unifying to the faith community.”
The monsignor said it’s too early to say if he sees a potential future pope in the current group of men.
“It’s too early to tell,” he said. “Do I see these 28 men as potential priests? I think they’ve all got growing edges, learning pains to go through, but I would be proud to serve with any one of them in a pastoral setting. They’re good, wholesome people. Immature a little bit, yeah, pie-in-the-sky ideology, yeah, certain attitudes about how they would react to certain groups or whatever, yeah, all of that is part of it, but that’s why they’re in the seminary.”